Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Church Management Software Article

I have the privilege each year of publishing an article listing church management software (CMS) providers and what they say their software can do. I’m surprised each year to hear it is one of the most requested articles for reprint, likely making it the most authoritative reference on the subject. Click here to download an advance copy in PDF format!

What does the article have to do with Krispy Kreme donuts? Nothing! I just like their donuts!


Ian Beyer said...

Am I missing something? Arena is conspicuously absent from the list.

Nick Nicholaou said...

Hi Ian! Well... yes and no!

Some companies have many solutions, a couple have more than a dozen! So we made the decision years ago that each company can only be listed once so that no company dominates the chart. Because Arena is part of Shelby Systems, its capabilities are listed in the Shelby column.

sissamae said...

Where is Servant Keeper???

Nick Nicholaou said...

Your question is a good one, and one I get often. Unfortunately the president of their company is unwilling to take 30-45 minutes to complete our survey once/year... we don't know why. There are absolutely no costs associated with participating in the survey and resulting articles that appear in multiple magazines, books, and on websites. We've tried to talk with him, but he won't return our calls or answer our emails. His non-response is unfortunate and curious.

Bill Newman said...

Actually you are misrepresenting the truth. You and I spoke on several occasions about our specific disagreements with your software 'review'. It came down to the fact that since your company was not going to review the software, there was no point in our being involved, as we don't see the benefit to the consumer. It seemed that the only remaining purpose could be to promote your advertisers, which is your choice, although I'm not sure it benefits the consumer. I'm not sure why you're unwilling to review the programs, like any other magazine offering a product review would do (i.e. PC Mag, etc), but again that's certainly your choice.
Bill Newman - General Manager
Servant Keeper
Servant PC Resources, Inc

Nick Nicholaou said...

Though some choose to advertise in the magazines that carry the article, the article is compiled and sent to the publishers completely independent of any advertising invitations. Most in the article do not buy advertising, etc. Except for the 1st time we did this research in the mid-1980s, this has not been an article that installs and tests systems for review purposes. That would be too costly to produce (the 1st time took more than a year!).

In 2008 we received no responses from SK to our survey, phone calls, or emails. In 2007 and 2006 we received incomplete surveys; they were missing required information (# of customers and last release date used to calculate the company is growing and advancing their solution's technology), and SK would not return our calls or emails asking for the missing information. SK has chosen to be uncooperative, even though we have earnestly tried to include them.

Maybe SK will decide to participate in 2009's article. I hope so.

Anonymous said...


I use to work for one of the CMS companies that is listed and the product is very large and has a large learning curve. It would take Nick (or whoever) thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours simply to learn and test basic functions for the company I worked for alone. I know for a fact that several others are just as difficult to use and have just as much of a learning curve / expense to learn.

I should say, I do not particularly care for the cms company I worked for but really it does not matter, I always keep my eyes open for what I think is best for the church.

I agree, the methodology used here for a comparison chart is far from perfect, however I believe it is a noble comparison to show a list of popular features and if each company claims they have the feature or not.

I simply do not understand your statement "since your company was not going to review the software, there was no point in our being involved, as we don't see the benefit to the consumer".

It is clear that the consumer benefits because they get an understanding of what the different solutions offer.

I am sure 99 out of 100 marketing folks would agree with me that this is a wasted opportunity on your part. For a little bit of time and $0, you get essentially free advertising.

While I also do not agree with all of Nick's methodology for the comparison, your absence from this list on purpose I believe is not a very intelligent decision, which I will take as a reflection of both you and your software.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your article. I appreciate any article that can point out the need for specialized Church Mgmt. Software. So often when budgets are tight, one of the first things targeted is the CMS. Some church leaders may not understand how crucial good CMS is to the daily running of the church. Many "techies" in leadership may want to try to patch together 3 or 4 programs used for mainstream business to accomplish the task of one good CMS, and who ends up holding the bag when the deadlines hit? It's the person who works in the office, not the "techies".

Bridget A. Macaskill said...

Thanks for sharing, I do appreciate your point of view by the way I am a pastor at convent church MD. Our church is looking for web based church management software . So we can be in touch in our people anywhere, anytime. I got to know about two companies which are the best, ACS Technologies & Congregation Builder. Both are good at services but Congregation builder is cheaper than ACS tech. So any feedback about them is greatly appreciated.

Nick Nicholaou said...

Hi Bridget!

This is the first I think I've heard of Congregation Builder, so I don't have anything to say about them. We'll reach out to them in this year's article (this Fall).